As earlier discussed,
To be externally dependent for societal growth suggests that existence, let alone sustainable evolutionary growth, simply cannot or will not continue without fundamental life-giving contributions, be they economic, goods and/or services, from somewhere outside the society under scrutiny.
In order to better understand aid dependence, I've inadvertently traversed the path upstream to consider economic theory, theory implementation motivators and the societal impacts. I've been doing some research on Milton Friedman versus John Maynard Keynes. While some of us would like to have a very simple conversation of "Am I helping others?" or "Are others being helped as a result of me, my organization, product or service?", when it comes to giving and receiving external help, the conversation is far more expansive than pure altruistic motivation.
Keynesian economics suggests that private sector decisions sometimes lead to inefficient and ineffective macroeconomic outcomes requiring public sector intervention through policy and legislation. Fundamentally, Mr. Keynes suggests that there must exist some form of calibration on the super-system else it will run awry through exploitation and eventual ex-/implosion.
Friedman economics suggests that markets are capable of self-governance and that external interference within any one or more sub-system will most likely lead to gated growth at the macroeconomic level. Fundamentally, Mr. Friedman suggests that government de-regulation, deep cuts to social spending, and privatization are the paths to setting the market free and fostering a healthy, flourishing nation-state and global economy.
Both bodies of economic theory, because they are much larger than this distillation, are focused on how to grow an economy. By deduction then, the ebb and flow of home-nation economy is largely impacted by the adopted and implemented economic philosophy at the time. Likewise by deduction, the depth and breadth to which one state helps another is impacted by economic policy. If the questions are, "Where do we spend money to make money?" or "How do we spend money to make money?", then the idea of helping others is always under scrutiny.
- Friedman: "Leave it alone, it will right itself."
- Keynes: "We can't leave it alone, it must be regulated."
- Friedman: "Privatize, deregulate government, cut social spending."
- Keynes: "Don't trust the private sector, regulate, increase social spending."
These are not the only economic theories in existence, let alone implemented across multiple nation-states. These are only two of multiple. However, the point is simple, if not obvious:
All external helpers are not motivated by altruism. Many, perhaps most, are motivated by expansion, which is growth which requires increasing revenue. If growth is not a goal, then the emphasis on revenue is likely moderated. However, if growth, and by extension, revenue, are motivators, then leaving the country in which the help is being provided is not part of the plan. In other words, helpers who need more money are less likely to leave.
Many countries legitimately need help, whether short-term relief or long-term intervention and development. Many countries are willing to get involved and help. It suggests itself to be an easy conversation.
Then why are some countries so dependent upon external help that they are unable to grow past the fur-lined shackles of aid? Is it a by-product of the 'helped' country being unmotivated to leave the shackles? Or is it a by-product of the 'helper' country being clever enough to preclude exit from the shackles in the interest of revenue?
Alas, but in a situation where the helper is not motivated to leave, the host has less likelihood of developing initiative to separate itself and become self-sustaining. Is this behavioral characteristic strengthened or weakened by Keynesian versus Friedman economic policy? Is the policy type relevant? Is external dependence architected or an accidental by-product?
Perhaps obvious to many already and I'm late to the game. Reasonable. I assert that economic policy designed for growth and expansion, coupled with purposefully architected dependence, is business. Resultantly, to help or not to help, likely in more cases than we dare admit, is couched in long-term revenue generation potential. Dependence is part of the business plan.
What does interdependence look like and does economic theory impact the enacted policy?